A local’s perspective on life in the desert versus life on the plains of Wyoming, and some insight on places to go rope.
For Trevor and Shelby McNamee, three winters in Arizona was enough time to realize they wanted to live in Wickenburg full time.
“In 2020, Trever and I were driving back from Arizona and I just looked at him and asked him “Why don’t we just live here full time?” because we loved it here so much!” explained Shelby.
Now, Trever and Shelby have been full time residents of Wickenburg for over three years, and they have no intentions of leaving the “Grand Canyon State”.
“I’d love to say it was just the roping that brought us here, but that wasn’t the main reason,” started Shelby. Trever and Shelby own Desert Diamond Surfacing, and Trever is a professional installer of Surestep recycled rubber surfacing. “When in Wyoming, we had to take four – six months off of installation because it has to be a certain temperature to do an installation.” Surestep’s rubber flooring material is now conveniently produced right in Wickenburg.
Trever and Shelby are also very keen to the benefits of living in the “Team Roping Capital of the World”. Within their household, they are both avid ropers. Trever is a high numbered roper, while Shelby is a low numbered roper. Still, Wickenburg offers amazing opportunities for both ropers to compete all over the county.
With so many places to rope, the McNamee’s gave some insight into their top three places to rope. Roper Nation, Rancho Rio, and Western Trails are their top 3 “go-to” ropings they highly recommend.
“As a low numbered roper, I feel most comfortable at Simpson’s [AKA Roper Nation]. These ropings feel so family-friendly, their steers are awesome, and it’s just a very nice arena. Trever also loves the high numbered ropings there, but this one is more of my personal favorite.”
As a sidenote, Roper Nation’s producer, Kyle Chrisman, is a snowbird from Wyoming. Their next recommendation is probably one of the most infamous things about Wickenburg, Rancho Rio. “You can’t come to Wickenburg and not stop by Rancho Rio,” Shelby said with a laugh.
For Trever, Rancho Rio has a special place in his heart. As a young kid, Trever and his Dad would make trips to Wickenburg in the winter to rope. Back then, Rancho Rio was merely an arena with some panels set up.
“It’s been really cool to see it come full circle, and to reflect back on how it hasn’t always been what it is today,” said Trever.
For Trever and Shelby, there productions are top notch and the hype about Rancho Rio is well deserved. “We make it a point to go to Rancho Rio at least once a week,” explained Shelby.
The McNamee’s both agree their #1 place to go rope is Western Trails.
“We love to be there on Sundays. They’ve got a bar playing on one side, vendors, a restaurant, a petting zoo, and it’s just a great place to go hang out and take your kids,” continued Shelby.
Besides the roping, there have been other benefits to Arizona. “This kind of sounds cliché, but we love how nice it is,” she said. “In Wyoming, it’s cold four-six months out of the year. What’s so bad about two months of heat in comparison?”
The atmosphere has created a welcoming environment as well. “It’s so bright and happy, there’s cacti everywhere, and the people have been so nice,” expressed Shelby. She did note that from time to time they do miss the trees and the grass of Wyoming terribly.
As the years progress, the McNamee’s have learned a thing or two about the unpredictability of
Wickenburg winters and the heat of the summers. “We tell everyone all the time that the desert gets cold. Bring your horse blankets and bring your jackets,” stressed Shelby. “We’ve found ourselves buying jackets at merchandise booths at ropings before because we were so cold.”
In the summers, they have learned that the thinner the fly blanket, the better. “It gets so hot. If you have a heavy fly sheet, your horse is sweating buckets under there. That was an interesting learning curve.” explained Shelby.
Headed into the future, Trever and Shelby have no intention of ever moving back to Wyoming full time. “The only way we would move back to Wyoming is if we had a summer house,” said Shelby.
Shelby and Trever have two kids, 4-year-old Cooper and 1-year-old Myla. Without a doubt, Arizona is
where they want to raise their children. “Six months out of the year, we still feel like we’re at home. We see people we know at the restaurants, we see friends, sometimes we even see cousins. That really cures any homesickness we have,” explained Shelby. Shelby compared the vibe of Wickenburg to the vibe of Cheyenne. “It never really feels like we did leave home.”
When they’re not roping, the McNamee’s can be found on the golf course. Arizona offers great golfing, and lots of opportunities for their children. An occasional trip to Phoenix, which is conveniently only an hour away is a nice amenity. Wickenburg is also just five hours from the beach, and two and a half
hours from the mountains of Flagstaff. Shelby truly feels that Wickenburg is ideally located for all types
For these snowbirds turned residents, Wickenburg, Arizona has been a central part to all aspects of their life and is a place they see themselves enjoying for generations to come.
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